Generation Gap Blues

I wonder if anyone from an earlier generation reads my blog. Or, any blog for that matter. Or, a blog at all. Would they know what a blog is? I wish from the bottom of my heart that someone does read mine because I have quite a few questions I would like to throw at them. It would also help if some of them are parents.

As I find my way around home, and relatives, I realize I am totally not cut-out for these kind of social interactions. Relatives whose first names or faces I can hardly recognize claim to be well-wishers and close friends. There is an unsaid pressure all around that asks me to meet with them, exchange niceties and pretend that with them is where I want to be the most. My parents and brother are theists and religiously (pun intended) follow all the customs and rituals as required on auspicious days. Though I have doubts about the existence of the God himself/herself/itself, I am very much sure these rituals have no purpose whatsoever. But, at home, I am the odd-guy-out because I cannot be persuaded to join them in the rituals. You can imagine the frictions and tensions that ensue. Three years ago, they had a son who dutifully sat down to perform poojas, without asking questions that were lingering in his mind. Who also was a right-leaning ultra-nationalist who supported BJP. Now, they have a son who has scant respect for the rituals being performed and balks at the mention of religion. I have told them I do not believe in these rituals. They pray to God that I should be ‘cured’. I cannot get into debates with them because it is beliefs we are talking about. I respect theirs, but unfortunately they don’t respect or relate to my beliefs. Why is it hard to understand? Is it because they are my parents they feel they have to show me the right ‘path’? But, is not this the time they should treat me like an adult and respect my views?

Adulthood. Ah! For some reason, with my parents at least (and most of my relatives), the term adults applies solely and exclusively only to them and folks of their age. All their children and their friends sadly never make it to adulthood. No matter whether their daughter’s 7 or 37. It is a problem so peculiar to India that I, not so long back, used to find it cute that parents still form a strong back-bone for people well in their 20s to rely on. But, with like all seemingly nice things, this sheltering of children leads to individuals who are still to come to grips with the world and have it in the back of their minds that their parents will be there,no matter what. This problem seems to be more acute with my parents’ generation, the generation that had its children in the 80s and 90s. For most of them, their children are the be-all and end-all of the world. All of us were pampered to the hilt and brought up like little princes in a kingdom of infinite riches. They took extra pains to ensure that their children should not know what ‘pain’ is. Heck, my mom called me up a few days back to tell about some burning problem that had happened earlier. Apparently, I was uninformed about this because their ‘gentle’ son would not be able to ‘handle’ such problems. Yes, again cute, but I believe it is so damaging to the children because I see many of my such-pampered cousins (and myself earlier) throwing tantrums, struggling in real-world situations and having a hard time facing failures, that they have to go throw a whole new phase of childhood in trying to grow into adults. They have not been exposed to problems at all and they think it is a hunky-dory world all around. I thank my stars that I got to get away from home when I did because it taught me a lot of stuff. Real-world stuff. I am not boasting about how much more mature I am than others because I am not. I still have my own issues to handle. But, I am definitely more than what I would have been if I had stayed in a sheltered home. I have had talks about this to my mother and why she (and other parents) pamper us so. She tells me, ‘You have children and you will know’. Which makes me really uncomfortable. Are all parents like this? I suspect this because I see most of her sisters and brothers also bring up their children the same way. So, please tell me, parents of the world, that to bring up your children you need not have to pamper them! Or, is there some strange socio-economic cause which turned all parents of the 80s to shower their attention on their children? Was it because it was a starvation economy of the 80s that made them be extra-cautious in ensuring their children did not feel these shortages? How are the new-age parents? Are they also being made to dance to the tunes of their little ones? 

As you can see with my emotional outburst, I am frustrated. Frustrated enough to get into other complicated issues and screw up the nice parts of my life. I wonder if I have become a total misfit in the scheme of things at home and with my brethren. Or, is this some wierd anti-homesick feeling that every bachelor going back home after a long hiatus goes through?

Please do drop in your comments. I would like to read what all of you think about this. That also includes you – the lazy-to-comment-readers and the pissed-off-that-I-will-not-reply-to-her-earlier-comments reader!

Generation Gap Blues

17 thoughts on “Generation Gap Blues

  1. harsha says:

    well i completely agree with you…..for 22 years i was a child not knowing what adulthood is……then the worl opened up to me in pune n guess what my behaviour was the topic of tea time discussions…….so much so that all the kandus were branded the same way……
    then magically i grew upto 22 in a year from then onwards life has held my hands and showed me what the world is…….
    you can always see my getting angry at my mom for pricking me all the time….even when i happen to just blink my eyelids… constant conversations with her explaining what i like and what not has helped to an extent. but the problem still persits,…i guess its the problem with all the dravidians except probably mallus……the best thing to do in these situations is to keep busy with lots of activities ….try it out….u can start with travel ;)

  2. dodo says:

    i hate to say “i-told-u-so”, but i told u so!

    these are expected! but good observations about the parents of ’80s. Although they had it really hard (okay most of them) during their childhood, but they were (most of them) out of the way too careful towards their children.

  3. @harsha: Yep mom! I wonder if it is only with us Bangaloreans/Southies!! And that advice about keeping myself busy is very right mom! I am starting to do that already, again to my parents’ angst!

    @dodo: What did you tell me??? The anti-homesickness feeling? :O
    Yeah.. I think the 80s parents had a tough time when they grew up and they over-compensated with their children! ….Hmm… interesting theory.. .wonder if any social research has been done on this though!

  4. notthatpissedoffapparently says:

    well…it’s not that everyone who was brought up in the eighties is/was pampered.

    but i do agree with u on the dfference in the points of view…like harsha says it could be a matter of painstaking and patient talking through for a long time….after which it’s not that some miracle happens and they begin to see your point of view; but they do lose hope that u r the perfect child!

    also another aspect is …..i think many young ppl in their late teens and twenties have begun to become very uptight……i guess we could use some loosening up…..dont u think so?so wht if rituals dont make sense..cant we see the humour in the situation n play along…….bcoz in any case im sure u wud be on play station if u werent doing the rituals in any case!somehow though im all for individualism and stuff i think it has its own drawbacks like some kind of isolation….we all could work out our own inividualities and still belong to people we love….no?

  5. @notsopissed: First of all a big, wide, warm thank you for not being so pissed :) :)

    Yes, the pampering bit is kind of peculiar to a few families I agree but the gap between our generation and theirs seem to be one big, yawning hole! Except for a lucky handful few, most of the people I know have some or the other issue with their parents. Lol! But what you say is right – the illusion that we are the perfect children has to break, sooner or later

    Trust you to find humour in this situation too :) I know what you mean – compromises are required to be made for loved ones, but sometimes rationality just does not agree.

  6. This is a very good, thoughtful post, Shreyas. I went through the suffocated phase too, but I recovered pretty well. For one, I tried to understand why they were doing that, and secondly, I tried to make my parents understand that I was uncomfortable.
    I had it easy – because my parents never really made me that uncomfy, and secondly, I have observed that guys get more affected than girls by this – can I call it – fussing.
    My husband has developed a unique armour against it – I am yet to discover how he does it – but it affects him no longer.
    Anyway at the end, I assure you – all of us have been through it, in different magnitudes, but at the end, it is up to you whether to get affected by it or not :D
    And as for analyzing the reasons, your reasoning seems quite logical to me – as you say, maybe you are better off asking people of that generation!

  7. Ah ! This is the same strain of thought from one of your earlier posts, I wanted to reply to your previous Nationalism-related post but did not.
    I would put it as an analogy, just as in nationalism at a larger scale, so with the parent-child relationships on a personal scale; there are FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (as in priviledges of a citizen/child) & FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES (as in expectations from a citizen/child). Is it only the rights that we end to remember ? Harmony/balance is essential in all things – right & duties are an integral part of life …
    If my comments do not make any sense, I would say I misread your post. A cool head and a controlled mind, can cause all frustrations to vanish.

    Join a yoga class Shreyas :-)

  8. @Shruthi: Yes, I am hoping too that time would be the best healer here too, like in most cases :) Well, if you ever get to know the secret to that armour, you know who is one of the first you have to share it with!!

    @Sin: Lol! Poor thing :( Follow the advice in the comments.. Time, my dear, time

    @Shamit: Very good advice about the yoga class and incidentally, I was thinking about it!!

    But, I guess my opposition of nationalism was taken to mean am some kind of a duty-shirker kid who wants all the candies of the world but is not willing to pay for them! I will reiterate the same point I made in the post – as far as the law of the country is concerned, I am going to follow it word-to-word. So, the duties and rights mentioned in the constitution dictates what I do. What I am not okay with is the sentiment of nationalism that is exploited by media, politicians and goons for their own nefarious gains and objectives.

    Coming to the blues with my parents, do you mean to say that such differences have to be taken with a pinch of salt because it is my duty? Sorry I did not get the analogy there!

    Keenly looking forward to your elaboration on this!

  9. Yes what I meant is some things such as participation in the household activities as a family, not being a ‘total misfit’ ;) as also what you have yourself have written ‘For most of them, their children are the be-all and end-all of the world’ which is actually an enormous truth. Ultra-individualistic attitudes tome atleast to me, are a no-no and creates lose-lose situations.
    And if ‘They took extra pains to ensure that their children should not know what ‘pain’ is.’ – can that be attributed in any way with the word ‘faulty’, I would find that logic absurd – who would want to turn on the pain switch for their children ? Not any caring parent, yes after a certain age, reins will automatically become looser, as you would have yourself experienced away from home.
    The minimal unit is that of a family, at least in most traditional Indian households – which is fast changing. Each will need to learn to adapt thats all I can say …

  10. Oh god…u poor thing…HA ha ha ha ha :p Sorry I laughed. But I couldn’t help myself. Guess what, I can identify with everything you have just said now. My folks have given up on me. Amma thinks I’m an atheist. What makes her think so? It’s because I don’t sit and pray every evening and do not accompany her to the temples whenever she goes. Well, technically I am not an atheist. I am an agnostic, basically confused about GOD and stuff. I guess my idea of God doesn’t really match with theirs.

    Most of my relatives are Sathya Sai Baba devotees. I laugh at them :p Once I laughed out loud and i was subjected to immense verbal torture. Over the years, a weird kind of arrangment has evolved at home. I don’t participate in rituals that don’t make sense to me. However I keep my mouth shut about my reservations and they don’t force me. I quite like this idea. Live and let live :D It is difficult for them to relate to me, but I guess even they have figured out that live n let live policy is helpful in maintaining the harmony. Hehehe..Of course, there are times when i want to tear my hair apart. but well, i have learnt to laugh…laugh out loud. Trust me it helps :p

    I guess it’s good in a way if people with varying temperements, belief systems exist in the same house. World is not after all inhibited of people who think exactly like us, right?

  11. @Shamit: You seem to have got the impression that I don’t love my parents! That’s certainly not how it is. It is just that I am bothered that they make too many sacrifices for their children to pamper them, which I do not thionk is the right way to bring up your children. I have not lost any trust in the family as a nourishing unit, but it comes with its own constraints. As Kahlil Gibran says – “ Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.”

    @Shobha: Exactly my feelings, and also that’s the strategy I mostly adopt! Live and Let Live.:) But, this post was a result of one of those terrible frustrations at the differences of views. Though I do not know how good it is if varying temperments exist in the same house!

  12. Oops ! Misunderstanding … I absolutely did not mean that way Shreyas. If what I wrote conveyed something to the tune (my militant response to blame), my sincere apologies. I only meant that lets accept things the way they are ’cause we cannot go back and change things now. As for: “they make too many sacrifices for their children” thats a sad thing but true – as feel the same way. Again each set of parents have their own approach.

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